Program of Study
The program in political science is designed to provide opportunities to understand politics as art, science, and philosophy. The political science department prepares students for pursuit of graduate degrees in political science as well as for professional schools such as law school and careers in government service. The department also seeks to prepare students for their role as citizens in a democratic society and for informed membership in a global community.
The Major in Political Science
The major in political science consists of 10 course units. Four are required: Political Science 110, 115, 120, and 125. In addition to these four required courses, students will select one of two departmental concentrations that will structure choices of upper division courses and complete at least four upper division courses in the chosen concentration. In addition, students must take at least four upper division courses in the chosen concentration. In addition, students must take at least one upper-level course in the second concentration. Students must complete two 300-level courses, at least one of which needs to be in their chosen area of concentration. One writing-intensive course is required. Writing-intensive courses may be at the 200 or 300-level.
Option to take one course for political science credit in Modern Languages and Literatures
Political science students are encouraged to study other languages, literatures, and cultures in support of the department's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and global education.
Students may satisfy the tenth political science major requirement, a free elective, with a course at any level from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
The departmental concentrations:
Citizenship in theory and practice - Designed to prepare students for informed engagement in political and public affairs through a purposeful and consideration of the theoretical nature of politics, the ends towards which politics can be directed and the means employed to achieve those ends. This concentration focuses on normative purposes and argumentation, political language and consciousness, historical texts, institutionalized political processes, modes of political participation and the particulars of contemporary policy issues. Courses that can be used to complete the requirements of this concentration are POSC 215, 220, 221, 225, 237, 240, 250, 260, 330, 340, and 355.
Global politics and international political awareness - Designed to develop the students understanding of international politics and global political issues through the study of international political systems and the practice of politics in nations and regions beyond the United States. Students choosing this concentration will engage matters such as the means by which states organize and maintain political power, the international political economy, regional governance and conflict, political violence and international security. Courses that can be used to complete the requirement of this concentration are: POSC 228, 235, 241, 245, 247, 248, 255, 327, and 346.
Courses in special topics and independent study may be substituted for courses at the advanced level, depending on the area in which the student will work and contingent upon departmental approval. Internship (386-388) will be counted as an elective in the major but is contingent upon departmental approval. Honors candidates take two courses, Political Science 400-401, which are counted within the 10-course requirement. Such courses will be evaluated on a case by case basis to assess for which track the course might be accepted as meeting the requirements of the major.
Students will be required to take one of the following to meet the college requirement for writing-intensive courses: POSC 225, 330, and 355. The department is in the process of developing one or more writing-intensive courses in the global/international track.
The Minor in Political Science
The minor will not be subject to commitment to either track. The minor consists of five course units: two selected from among Political Science 110, 115, 120, and 125, and three additional courses selected with the approval of the advisor.
The Interdepartmental Major
Set I of the interdepartmental major consists of six course units: any two of Political Science 110, 115, 120, and125, and four others two of which may be independent study.
Departmental Courses - major requirements
Required introductory courses: All majors will complete the four introductory courses listed immediately below which will be offered annually if not every semester.
- POSC 110 American Political Systems
- POSC 115 Introduction to International Politics
- POSC 120 Introduction to Political Theory
- POSC 125 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Courses eligible for upper division credit in Citizenship in theory and practice track. Students completing this track will be required to complete a minimum of four of these courses. Each of these courses will generally be taught on a two year cycle but a minimum of four will be available each academic year. At least one 300 course in this track will be scheduled each academic year. Scheduling of POSC 237, POSC 240, and POSC 340 will also be done to accommodate their status as required course for the Environmental Studies major. POSC 221 will be scheduled by the Sociology Department.
- POSC 215 Modern Political Theory
- POSC 220 American Constitutional Law
- POSC 221 Civil Liberties (cross listed, taught within Sociology Department)
- POSC 225 Congress and the Presidency
- POSC 237 Public Administration and Public Policy
- POSC 240 Environmental Policy
- POSC 250 Contemporary Political Theory
- POSC 260 Critical Gender Studies
- POSC 330 Culture and Politics
- POSC 340 Energy Policy
- POSC 355 Utopias, Dystopias, and Manifestos: The Imagination of Political Alternatives
Courses eligible for upper division credit in Global politics and international political awareness. Students completing this track will be required to complete a minimum of four of these courses. Each of these courses will generally be taught on a two year cycle but a minimum of four will be available each academic year. At least one 300 level course will be scheduled each academic year. Course listed as POSC 228, POSC 241, POSC 248, POSC 255, and POSC 346 have been taught as special topics courses and are being submitted for entry into the course catalog with appropriate requests for course numbers. POSC 245 is currently listed in the catalog as Topics in Third World Politics but has been taught as Middle East Politics for well over a decade. The department will take the appropriate steps to amend the catalog to align the course title with its actual content.
- POSC 228 African Politics
- POSC 235 Contemporary European Politics
- POSC 241 International Security
- POSC 245 Politics of the Mid East
- POSC 247 Introduction to Chinese Politics
- POSC 248 Will China Rule the World?
- POSC 255 The Political Wisdom of the East
- POSC 327 Politics of Developing Nations
- POSC 346 The Politics of the Global Economy